Don, would you happen to have any state trooper friend or other trusted local LEO that could ck a VIN for me in the Lousianna system?
Nope--sorry. There use to be a local state trooper who lived less than a mile from me--nice local guy, too. But, since he moved, the DMV is the only place I could go to get any info. Don't know how much they'd be willing to give out. Probably not much. LA laws are fairly strict, on car titles and such. They sent my sister some real ugly, threatening letters, when she dropped the ins on a couple of old pick-ups, without turning in the plates. She had to pay a fine and turn in the plates, at a DMV office 50 miles away.
I did think of one other thing. Most any tow truck business, or even a mechanic or body shop, with a fenced holding area, can keep a car for a certain length of time, then get a title on it, so they can sell it. This is so they can recoup some of their money, if they can't collect from the owners. So, if you have friends in any of these positions, they can hold your car, & eventually get a title for you. You'll have to contact some of them to find out the details for your state.